Metro Manila · Government & Development
The Philippines is a relatively solid democracy with a strong civil society. Nevertheless, it is still a developing country, with persistent social problems, corruption, and a partially inefficient bureaucracy. Here is an overview of the political system, the level of development, and many links to country reports and fact sheets that provide you with further information about all sectors of society.
The Republic of the Philippines has a presidential form of government based on the system of the United States, its former colonial power. It has three co-equal branches, namely the Executive, the Legislative and the Judiciary. The Executive branch is composed of the President and the Vice President who are elected by the people. The two serve for a term of six years. The President of the country appoints a cabinet for administering government functions. The Legislative branch of the government is responsible for enacting laws of the land. This group consists of the Upper House and the Lower House, i.e. the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Judiciary consists of the Supreme Court headed by the Chief Justice.
Corruption & Bureaucracy
NGOs as well as foreign businessmen doing business in Asia perceive the Philippines as one of the most corrupt countries in the region. The United Nations Development Program indicates that nearly USD 2 billion is lost to corruption each year. With an under-performing judicial system when it comes to prosecuting and punishing individuals who are charged and proven guilty for bribery, graft and corruption, these offenses remain generally rampant in the country. Corruption is present on every level of government from the Bureau of Immigration to Customs down to the traffic enforcers. A study done by the World Bank in the year 2008 indicated that the Philippines is the worst when it comes to corruption and even scored lower than countries in East Asia who are behind in terms of governance reforms. However, things are slightly improving in recent years.
The government is rather centralized despite its efforts of decentralization (it has been the precursor in terms of decentralization in Southeast Asia). Monstrous in terms of size and complexity, it is usually slow in implementing policies and providing public services. Red tape remains one of the biggest problems when trying to call on government services such as the processing of public documents or getting copies of such documents. Bureaucrats in many departments and offices are known for taking bribes to speed up bureaucratic processes even if this speed should be the norm.
Political dynasties dominate politics on all levels. At the same time, many posts in the country’s bureaucracy are filled by relatives of those in charge. The padrino system (padrino means godparent as well as patron or sponsor in Spanish) is prevalent in the government sector and beyond, even though laws were passed that prohibit it.
Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs)
The Philippines has as many as 60.000 registered non-profit, non-governmental organizations in the country. They work mostly on local levels to improve health, education, democratization, family planning, nutrition, infrastructure, and protection of the environment.
Country Reports and Fact sheets
For more information on development, economics, and social issues in the Philippines, have a look on the following country reports and fact sheets by NGOs and other organizations.
Human Development Index
The Human Development Index (HDI), sees a slow but steady increase in the Philippines' development overall. See the HDI 2015 country profile for the Philippines here.
Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index shows that until 2014, the Philippines was improving in relation to other countries. By 2011, the Philippines came in as 129th out of 178 countries in terms of corruption perception. By 2014 it climbed up to rank 85 out of 175 countries. However, in 2015 it slipped back to rank 95, even though its overall performance kept improving slightly.
Transparency International calculates the corruption index every year, measuring perceived corruption and transparency in comparison with other countries worldwide: transparency.org/country#PHL.
Amnesty International (AI)
The Annual Report of Amnesty International gives an overview over human rights issues, here is the link to the 2015/16 edition:
World Health Organization (WHO)
The World Health Organization provides detailed statistics on health conditions in the country:
World Trade Organization (WTO)
On the website of the World Treaty Organization you find a trade profile of the Philippines, with information on GDP, imports, exports, etc.:
Reporters Without Borders (RSF)
Reporters Without Borders monitor the level of press freedom and the situation for journalists:
United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)
The United Nations Children's Fund provides comprehensive data regarding the economical, educational, and health situation of the Filipinos, with a focus on children and families.
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